The last time we heard about Union Square’s Hotel G, the Tartine team was planning a café project with April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, but we know why that fell apart.
The replacement concept is AYALA, and the new operators are LA’s Cast Iron Partners (who were part of the last project), with chef-partner Bill Montagne (coming from the East Coast: Snaggletooth in Chicago, and most recently at Paul Kahan’s Nico Osteria), executive chef Melissa Perfit (Bar Crudo, Hard Water), GM Essam Kardosh (Del Popolo), wine director Nick Tilly (who will also be working with Essam), and bar director Julian Cox (Tartine).
It’s going to be a seafood-focused restaurant, highlighting California seafood designed to be shared. You’ll be able to start with selections from the raw bar, with oysters, and seasonal picks like Dungeness crab, Santa Barbara uni, and abalone. Crudos and cured fish boards will be offered, along with seafood pastas (think tortellini in brodo with lobster consommé), and entrées and large-format dishes, like cioppino verde. There will be some meat dishes as well, like dry-aged strip steak.
Wines will influenced by the sea (whether they are coastal vineyards or it’s about soil composition), and look for new California wines, with a focus on organic and natural viticulture. Julian Cox’s bar program (to be clear, he’s consulting on this project in an ongoing basis, not just the opening, but is still with Tartine) will include spirits from small producers, seasonal ingredients, and having fun with the concept: some sea Navy Strength gin and rums, east India Sherry, port, and Madeira. They will also be featuring spirits that go well with oysters.
They want the style and vibe to feel fun and neighborhood-y, while referencing the California coast. There will be three areas: the oysterette (an extension of the bar, flanking the street, with floor-to-ceiling windows), the dining room (which will be a little more private, with ash tables and wood banquettes), and the raw bar, complete with marble and an oyster station, along with a VIP table with room for seven.
They are targeting a November opening, and the next time you’re at Benjamin Cooper (also a part of the Hotel G property), you can take a peek at their progress. (It’s opening in the former 398 Brasserie space.) 398 Geary St. at Mason.
The former location (as 398 Restaurant & Bar). Photo by Kelly Puleio.